Report: MLB Season Wouldn’t Be Shut Down with Positive COVID-19 Test Result

In an otherwise empty ballpark, grounds crew members continue to keep the Seattle Mariners' field in playing shape as the ballpark goes into its seventh week without baseball played because of the coronavirus outbreak, Monday, May 11, 2020, in Seattle. A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press that Major League Baseball owners have given the go-ahead to making a proposal to the players' union that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

As Major League Baseball and its players association work toward potentially coming to terms on an agreement to return to play, the league is reportedly developing a safety plan that would not require shutting down the season if players tested positive for COVID-19.

Jared Diamond and Louise Radnofsky of the Wall Street Journal (h/t Katherine Acquavella of CBS Sports) reported the news, noting such a plan would call for personnel to be tested multiple times a week. What’s more, the league believes it can gain access to widespread testing without taking away necessary supplies from frontline workers and hospitals.

If and when there are positive tests from players or those around the team, play would not necessarily be stopped.

The plan calls for social distancing measures and those around the game to avoid crowded scenarios outside of the field, but “the apparent goal is to be able to quickly spot and interrupt any contagion, thereby mitigating how many people get sick, not to prevent any single one of them from getting the virus while at work.”

This echoes the sentiment that reportedly came from a board of governors call with NBA commissioner Adam Silver when it came to that league returning.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that, while those on the call “left the virtual meeting feeling increasingly positive about the league’s momentum toward a resumption of play this season,” there was also an understanding that those involved with the league would have to grow “comfortable with the idea that a positive test for the coronavirus upon a return would not shutter play.”

Baseball has more than just health concerns to work out before it begins the 2020 season.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the league’s proposal of a 50-50 revenue split instead of prorated contracts “is a non-starter for the players,” especially after the two sides already agreed in March that players would receive prorated salaries based on how many games they play.

While the money issues may ultimately derail any comeback efforts for baseball, it appears as if the league will not implement a policy that play is once again shut down with positive tests as it navigates the new reality.